Sigma Lambda Upsilon
FoundedDecember 1, 1987; 36 years ago (1987-12-01)
Binghamton University
Vestal, NY
TypeSocial and Cultural Interest
Mission statement
Only Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. can authentically provide an everlasting sisterhood and an empowering sense of pride to our diverse members by intentionally contributing tools to distinguish ourselves.
MottoHasta La Muerte
(Until Death)
Colors  Gold
Sororal Symbol
FlowerRed Pansy with Black and Gold
JewelBlack Pearl
PublicationThe Spirit of Ella
Chapters46 undergraduate chapters
18 graduate-professional chapters
NicknameSeñoritas Latinas Unidas, SLU, Sigma Lambdas, Señoritas
MascotBlack Persian Cat with Gold Eyes
HeadquartersGrand Central Station
P.O. Box 3842

New York, NY
WebsiteNational website

Sigma Lambda Upsilon (ΣΛΥ) or Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. is a Latina-based sorority founded on December 1, 1987 at Binghamton University.[1][2] The organization was created to promote academic achievement and serve the Latino community and the campuses that Sigma Lambda Upsilon serves. The sorority is now present in over 65 campuses. Though Latina-based, Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority, Inc. is a non-discriminatory organization. The sorority is a member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) and is its fourth oldest sororal member by founding date.[3]



The sorority (like other Greek members within the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations) was founded during the post-1975 phase of the Latino Greek Movement which followed the "principio" (principle) stage initially kickstarted in 1898 by student activism on college campuses.[4] The "fuerza" (force) wave of Greek-lettered Latino organizations in the 1980s would then begin as the result of many Latino students feeling they had to create a more favorable system of American higher education for Latino population within the country.[5] This would be a much talked about issue during the time for social justice activists within the community as a result of the stagnant growth of Latino student enrollment during the 1980s through the early 1990s.[6]


The initial steps for the creation of Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated were taken in 1986 at Binghamton University. Cynthia Santiago, Adriana Zamora, Carmen Ibeth Garcia-Quiñones, and Carol Elizabeth Torres, creating the Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon at the university, forming the first Latina-interest sorority on campus with their titles of "founding mothers".[7]

The founding mothers, like many other founding lines for Latina Greek-lettered organizations during "fuerza" era, modeled their probate ceremony after that of Greek-lettered organizations in the National Pan-Hellenic Council like Alpha Kappa Alpha.[8][9]

20th century and NALFO

Throughout the 1990s, during the fragmentation phase of the Latino Greek Movement (which saw the creation and major expansion of many Latina Greek organizations), the sorority was chartered across 30 campuses in various states and established alumni associations in major cities such as Washington, D.C.[10][11] In 1992, the sorority briefly considered expanding into Texas at the Texas Woman's University after being contacted by an undergraduate student in the summer of that year who was inspired by the sorority's philanthropic work at the University of Pennsylvania. Ultimately, the sorority decided against establishing a chapter at the university which would lead the student, Angeles Gonzalez, along with six other women, to establish the Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Alpha/Señoritas Latinas en Acción Sorority, Incorporated.[12] Sigma Lambda Upsilon would later go onto charter the Theta Delta graduate chapter in the state.

It also joined the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations in 1998 and became one of two East Coast sororities, along with Omega Phi Beta, to join the majority West Coast and Mid-West conference instead of the majority East Coast ConcÌlio Nacional de Hermandades Latinas that year.[13]

21st century and lawsuit against the University of Virginia

In early 2019, the sorority was the figurehead of a notable debate highlighting what constitutes hazing and the challenges that colleges and universities face in enforcing anti-hazing policies.[14] The Alpha Rho chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon at the University of Virginia was accused of violating the university's anti-hazing policy by requiring its members to complete mandatory study hours of at least 25 hours per week.[15] This was met with the sorority's national organization filing a lawsuit against UVA, in which they argued that the mandatory study hours were not hazing and that the university's definition of hazing was too broad.[16] The lawsuit also accused UVA of discrimination against the sorority because of its focus on serving the Latina community. Critics of UVA's decision to classify mandatory study hours as hazing included several writers and media outlets. The National Review published an article arguing that the lawsuit against Sigma Lambda Upsilon was a sign of the "hazing hysteria" that has taken hold on college campuses.[17] The Washington Post and NBC News also reported on the controversy, highlighting the debate over what constitutes hazing and the controversy over UVA's decision to classify mandatory study hours as hazing.[18][19] Kerry Dougherty, a local columnist in Virginia, also weighed in on the controversy, arguing that UVA was "making a mockery" of the anti-hazing policy by equating mandatory study hours with hazing.[20]

In response to the lawsuit filed by Sigma Lambda Upsilon's national organization, UVA defended its anti-hazing policies and argued that the university's definition of hazing was consistent with that used by other colleges and universities.[21] UVA also emphasized its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, but argued that this commitment did not excuse violations of the university's policies. The case was ultimately settled out of court in 2019, with Sigma Lambda Upsilon agreeing to implement new anti-hazing policies and UVA agreeing to review its policies and procedures related to hazing.

In 2020, the sorority's chapter at Duke University notably managed to reach an endowment goal of $100,000 within two years despite having just initiated 77 members since its founding as the first Latina-based sorority on the campus.[22]


Sigma Lambda Upsilon's membership is predominantly Latina and Hispanic American in composition. Members of the sorority are predominately from the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Members refer to each other as Hermanas (translated as sister in the Spanish language). Additionally, they also refer to themselves as Señoritas (translated as ladies in Spanish) or Sigma Lambdas. Those undergoing the new membership education process are referred to as Damas (translated as ladies in Spanish).[23]

The sorority offers three ways to obtain membership: through an undergraduate chapter, through an alumni professional chapter, or receiving honorary status. Undergraduate and alumni professional chapters have separate academic requirements and prerequisites for membership. Honorary membership is decided by the organization's national governing body.[24]


The mission of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. is to showcase that only the sorority can authentically provide an everlasting sisterhood and an empowering sense of pride to its diverse members by intentionally contributing tools to distinguish themselves. The sorority specifically seeks to meet this mission through its goals of fostering:[25]

The ideals of the sorority are sincerity, loyalty, and unity.


Historically since 2000, the organization's philanthropy has been the promotion of literacy in accordance with the standards set by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The sorority works with children and youth as its primary target population to aid in literacy in education and career success. The premise of their philanthropic work focuses on the power of literacy to uplift their communities and foster confidence in their young people, for them to advance toward their educational, personal, and professional goals.[26]

Mentoring programs

Sigma Lambda Upsilon's national mentoring initiatives are the Leadership, Advancement, and Development of our Young Sisters (LADYS) and Promoting Education, the Arts, our Roots, Leadership and Service (PEARLS) programs.[27]

National performance team

The sorority has a national performance team called Blacklisted.[28] It participates in various traditional step and stroll shows and helps promote development opportunities for members to live a more active lifestyle through the fitness and wellness initiative "Fit for a Señorita".[29]

Dates of celebration


The sorority uses Pre-Columbian imagery in its iconography.[33]


States with Chapters of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated.
Number Chapter City/Campus State University Founding Year Charter Recognized Active
1 Alpha Vestal NY Binghamton University 1987 Yes Active
2 Beta Buffalo NY Buffalo State College, University at Buffalo, Daemen College 1989 Yes Not Active
3 Gamma Philadelphia PA University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Bryn Mawr College, Drexel University, St. Joseph’s University 1990 Yes Active (Drexel)
4 Delta Providence RI Brown University 1990 No Not Active
5 Epsilon Cortland NY State University of New York at Cortland 1991 Yes Active
7 Zeta Oswego NY State University of New York at Oswego 1992 Yes Not Active
8 Eta Syracuse NY Syracuse University 1992 Yes Active
8 Iota Ithaca NY Cornell University, Ithaca College 1993 Yes Active
9 Kappa Princeton NJ Princeton University 1993 No Not Active
10 Lambda New Brunswick NJ Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 1995 Yes Active
11 Mu Albany NY University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College, College of Saint Rose 1996 Yes Active
12 Nu University Park PA Pennsylvania State University 1997 Yes Not Active
13 Xi Kingstown RI University of Rhode Island 1999 Yes Not Active
14 Omicron New York NY New York University, City College-CUNY, Baruch College-CUNY, St. Francis College, Lehman College- 1999 Yes Not Active
15 Pi New Haven CT Yale University 1999 No Not Active
16 Rho Providence RI Johnson and Wales University 1999 Yes Active
17 Sigma Schenectady NY Union College Not active
18 Tau Newark NJ Rutgers University-Newark 2000 Yes Active
19 Upsilon College Park MD University of Maryland, College Park 2000 Yes Not Active
20 Phi Amherst MA University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Hampshire College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College 2000 No Not Active
21 Chi Boston MA Boston University, Tufts University, Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2001 No Not Active
22 Psi Rochester NY University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College 2002 Yes Active
23 Omega Norfolk VA Old Dominion University 2002 Yes Active
24 Alpha Alpha New York NY Columbia University, Barnard College 2003 Yes Not Active
25 Alpha Beta Hanover NH Dartmouth College 2003 No Not Active
25 Alpha Gamma Washington DC George Washington University 2003 No Active
26 Alpha Delta Stony Brook NY State University of New York at Stony Brook 2005 Yes Not Active
27 Alpha Epsilon Plattsburgh NY State University of New York at Plattsburgh 2005 Yes Active
28 Alpha Zeta Richmond VA Virginia Commonwealth University 2005 Yes Not Active
29 Alpha Eta Bloomington IN Indiana University at Bloomington 2006 Yes Active
30 Alpha Theta Middletown CT Wesleyan University 2007 No Not Active
31 Alpha Iota Clinton NY Hamilton College 2008 Yes Not Active
32 Alpha Kappa Garden City NY Adelphi University 2008 Yes Active
33 Alpha Lambda Montclair NJ Montclair State University 2009 Yes Active
34 Alpha Mu New Paltz NY State University of New York at New Paltz 2009 Yes Active
35 Alpha Nu Grand Rapids MI Grand Valley State University 2009 No Not Active
36 Alpha Xi Pleasantville NY Pace University-Pleasantville 2011 Yes Not Active
37 Alpha Omicron Storrs CT University of Connecticut 2011 Yes Active
38 Alpha Pi Atlanta GA Georgia State University 2012 Yes Active
39 Alpha Rho Charlottesville VA University of Virginia 2013 Yes Active
40 Alpha Sigma Nassau County NY Farmingdale State College< 2016 yes Not Active
41 Alpha Tau Harrisonburg VA James Madison University 2016 yes Not Active
42 Alpha Upsilon Indianapolis IN Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 2019 Yes Active
43 Alpha Phi Kennesaw GA Kennesaw State University 2019 Yes Active
44 Alpha Chi Athens GA University of Georgia 2019 Yes Active

Graduate chapters

Graduate chapters, open to alumnae as well as alumnae initiates, include:[1]


  1. ^ a b William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive)". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 5 Jul 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  2. ^ "Plattsburgh goes green for April with SUNY students".
  3. ^ "Box". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  4. ^ Oliver Fajardo. "History of Latino Fraternal Movement and Why it Matters on Campus Today" (PDF). Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  5. ^ Moreno, Diana; Banuelos, Sheila (2013). "The Influence of Latina/o Greek Sorority and Fraternity Involvement on Latina/o College Student Transition and Success". Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies. 5 (2): 113–125. doi:10.18085/llas.5.2.y1113g2572x13061. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  6. ^ "More Blacks Go to College; Rate for Latinos Falls : Education: Total of minorities on campus grows, but the gap with whites closes only slightly, a study will show today". Los Angeles Times. 20 January 1992. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  7. ^ "History". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
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  9. ^ Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. 2003. ISBN 9780838639771. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  10. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon". Reflections. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  11. ^ Cliff, Ellie; above, '22 For the Bibliography see link; Bibliography", "The Latina Experience. "The Latina Experience at Dartmouth · Dartmouth Course Exhibits". course-exhibits.library.dartmouth.eduaccess-date=2023-05-07.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "History | Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority, Inc". July 24, 2016. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  13. ^ "Member Organizations – National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  14. ^ "UVA lawsuit raises question of what counts as hazing". Higher Ed Dive. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  15. ^ "Sorority charged with 'hazing' for requiring members to study 25 hours per week". The College Fix. January 6, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  16. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon v. Rector of Univ. of Va., 503 F. Supp. 3d 433 | Casetext Search + Citator". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  17. ^ "Lawsuit: Sorority Guilty of 'Hazing' for Requiring Members to Study 25 Hours per Week". National Review. January 8, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  18. ^ "What Constitutes Hazing". The Washington Post. February 2, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  19. ^ "UVA tells Latina sorority studying 25 hours a week is hazing, lawsuit says". NBC News. 4 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Hazing Schmazing". Kerry Dougherty. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  21. ^ "Sorority suit: UVa said studying 25 hours a week is hazing". Associated Press. January 4, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  22. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon Raises $100,000 to Endow OTHC Scholarship - Office of Multicultural Advancement – Syracuse University". 24 November 2022. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  23. ^ "SLU Information Packet" (PDF). Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  24. ^ "SLU Constitution". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  25. ^ "SLU Mission". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  26. ^ "Latinx Sororities and Fraternities You Should Keep on Your Radar". 23 August 2021. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  27. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  28. ^ "HOME". blacklisted.
  29. ^ Foley, Michael. "The National Performance Team". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  30. ^ "SLU: Being a Boricua by Amber B". October 11, 2016. Retrieved 2023-05-07.
  31. ^ "Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month | Diversity and Inclusion". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  32. ^ "Founders' Day: SLU's 28th Anniversary". December 1, 2015. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  33. ^ "Ancient Colombian goldmaking – Smarthistory".